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Acropolis Museum Loans Kore Statue, Other Artifacts to Toronto

Kore 670
Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum will offer visitors a rare opportunity to see one of the world’s great ancient sculptures — known as the “Kore 670” — until the exhibit closes in late September 2022, courtesy of the Acropolis Museum. Credit: Giorgos Vitsaropoulos, via Acropolis Museum/ROM

Starting on March 12, 2022, visitors to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, can experience Kore 670 — a gift to a goddess, one of the best-preserved and most stunningly beautiful Korai statues from the Acropolis of Athens.

To celebrate 80 years of Canada-Greece relations, the ROM is taking part in an exchange of exhibits with the Acropolis Museum in Athens, with the Canadians sending two treasured vases to the museum’s Greek collections from June 20, 2022 to January 8, 2023.

In its 2,500-year history of existence, the Kore 670 has left Greece just a very few times.

What is Kore 670?

Kore 670 is a painted figure of a maiden.

Created sometime between 520-510 BC, it is considered one of the most important pieces of art from the Acropolis, appreciated for its fine detail and preservation because the statue retains remnants of its once vibrantly-painted figure.

The sculpture offers visitors a “portal into the history and beauty of ancient Greek art, the tumultuous history of the Acropolis and the birthplace of democracy,” said the ROM in a press release.

The story behind Kore 670

Kore 670 (Kore is Greek for “girl) was a gift to the goddess Athena, the daughter of Zeus.

The many Korai (plural of Kore) that, in ancient times, adorned the Acropolis of Athens, represent some of the most iconic images in Greek culture and civilization. And, after the centuries that passed since the destruction of Athens and the Acropolis in 480 BC, Kore 670 and 13 other Korai were re-discovered in 1886 when archaeologists were excavating the site.

ROM’s installation, Acropolis Museum exchange program

“This installation invites audiences to re-examine their understanding of white marble sculptures and the appeal of color in the Archaic Age,” the ROM states. “Unpainted marble has been accepted for centuries as the original and intended appearance of statues;” however, these sculptures were initially overlaid and adorned with vibrant colors.

Indeed, a Greek sculpture was never thought to be complete until it was painted; so, even though the bright hues of Kore 670 have somewhat decomposed over time, the remaining traces on this sculpture highlight how colorful art was in antiquity.

The ROM is Canada’s foremost comprehensive museum collection of ancient Greek objects, consisting of some 7,000 pieces of art, representing one of the largest collections of Greek art in North America, with objects on display in the Gallery of Greece and the Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean.

And, with this ROM installation, which is sponsored by the Hellenic Heritage Foundation of Canada in recognition of the anniversary of the beginning of Canada-Greece relations, that number may rise, the organizers add.

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